March Madness Preview: Saturday’s Sweet 16

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We have had an amazing tournament so far. From upsets to blowouts, we’ve seen it all. As we countdown to tipoff, let’s take a look through all of Saturday’s Sweet 16 matchups. 

#8 Loyola Chicago vs #12 Oregon State – 2:40pm ET, CBS

Loyola Chicago Ramblers

Loyola started off the tournament with a close win against Georgia Tech in the Round of 64. This led to a matchup between the Ramblers and number 1-seed Illinois. In the battle of Illinois, the Ramblers came out on top. Led by senior Cameron Kurtwig, Loyola was able to pull off the major upset. Kurtwig is averaging 15 points and 6.9 rebounds per game this season.

Along with solid offense, the Ramblers win games with their defense. Loyola is 1st in the country for their opponents points per game. This comes from a slow-paced offense and a very solid defense. If the Ramblers can play at their pace, it is tough to beat them.

Oregon State Beavers

This will be a tough test for Oregon State. The Beavers come into this game after wins over Tennessee and Oklahoma State. In these wins, Oregon State is averaging 75 points per game. This Beaver team is led by Ethan Thompson. Thompson is averaging 15.6 points per game this season.

Along with Jarod Lucas and big-man Roman Silva, this is a very solid Oregon State team. Throughout their Pac-12 and NCAA tourney run, the Beavers have won games from the three-point line. Going up against a great Loyola defense, it may be hard to continue that run.

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Prediction

This is going to be a very slow-paced and low scoring game but expect it to stay close throughout. Coming off a massive upset against Illinois, I would expect the Ramblers to keep the winning streak rolling in this one.

#1 Baylor vs #5 Villanova – 5:15pm ET, CBS

Baylor Bears

If you like watching teams shoot a lot of threes, this is your game. Baylor is 8th in 3 pointers made and 1st in three point percentage in all Division 1 basketball. Led by Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell and MaCio Teague, this team has the best guard combination in the country. Jared Butler is the highest scorer on the team, averaging 16.9 points per game. Right behind Butler is Teague with 16.1 points per game.  Overall, the Bears average 83.8 points per game which is 4th in college hoops.

This team can score whenever they want. The Bears are 24-2 this season, with both losses coming at the back-end of the season. In these two losses, Baylor was ice cold from three. The Bears shot 12-54 from three in these two games combined. For Villanova to get a win here, they need to hope for another one of those nights.

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Villanova Wildcats

Villanova is not an easy out though. The Wildcats average 9.4 threes a game and play at a very fast pace. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl has been their best player this season. Robinson-Earl is currently averaging 16 points per game. Going up against the speed and skill of Baylor, Villanova will need all they can get. It is tough to read this Wildcat team though.

In their first two rounds, they beat Winthrop and North Texas. These are not good “tune-up” games to get ready for the skill of Baylor. There are a lot of questions surrounding Villanova, especially after losing their best player halfway through the season.

Prediction

Get ready for a fast-paced and very high scoring game. Don’t be surprised to see Baylor come out on top though.

#3 Arkansas vs #15 Oral Roberts – 7:25pm ET, TBS

Arkansas Razorbacks

The Razorbacks are led by Moses Moody. Moody is averaging around 17 points per game this season and is a force on defense. This Arkansas team is fast, athletic and doesn’t take many bad shots. The Razorbacks average 82 points per game, 7th in Division 1 basketball.

Their road to the Sweet 16 wasn’t easy. After beating Colgate in the first round, the Razorbacks beat Texas Tech by only 2 points. Arkansas played great all-around in that game and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it again in Saturday’s Sweet 16 matchup.

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Oral Roberts Golden Eagles

No one thought we would be seeing Oral Roberts this Saturday in a Sweet 16. After upsetting 2-seed Ohio State in the first round, the Golden Eagles went on to beat Florida in the Round of 32. As their Cinderella story continues, they have another tough test coming up.

The Golden Eagles are led by Max Abmas, who is arguably the best player left in the tournament. Abmas is the country’s leading scorer, averaging 24.6 points per game this season. With the help of Kevin Obanor, this team is hard to beat. In the two tournament games so far, Obanor has averaged 29 points and 11 rebounds per game. Even with wins over Ohio State and Florida, Arkansas may be their toughest test so far.

Prediction

We should see a pretty face-paced game here with a slight edge for the Razorbacks. It’s hard not to root for Oral though…

#2 Houston vs #11 Syracuse – 9:55pm ET, TBS

Houston Cougars

For Houston, their athleticism and versatility can always disrupt any offense. The Cougars are second in the nation in opponents points per game. Along with having a great defense, Houston averages 77.4 points per game as a team.

The guard combination of Quentin Grimes, Marcus Sasser and DeJon Jarreau is deadly on offense and defense. Grimes is the leader of this Houston team, averaging 18.1 points per game this season. Even though Houston is 26-3 this year, their three losses all came to bad teams. 

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Syracuse Orange

With both of these teams playing great on offense recently, the question is who will play better defense? For Syracuse, their 2-3 zone defense can always confuse opposing offenses. Even though this is not the same defensive minded team from the past, the Orange are still tough.

Buddy Boeheim is the leader of this team. Boeheim is averaging 27.5 points per game in the tournament. The 6-6 guard has been electric this tourney, hitting threes from anywhere on the court. Syracuse is one of the hottest teams in the entire tournament.

Prediction

This is going to be a very tough spot for Houston. This game may come down to whoever has the ball in their hands last. Watch out for a Syracuse upset here in Saturday’s last Sweet 16 matchup. 


Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, I hope you enjoyed it and found it informative. You can find my work here at TarpsOffSports.com and follow me on Twitter @NNloading. Also, I can be found on the Tarps Off Sports Degenerates show on the Tarps Off Sports YouTube channel. Please contact me if you have any questions or comments. We are an interactive sports site that takes pride in interacting with our readers. 

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